Hauraki Gulf

Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf is scattered with a selection of incredibly impressive islands, ranging from the larger ones with local populations of their own, through to smaller ones dedicated solely to New Zealand’s flourishing fauna and flora. While each and every island in the Gulf is incredible in its own way, here’s a quick list of the best of the best.

Rangitoto Island
Quite literally bursting out of the sea around 600 years ago, the island of Rangitoto is perhaps the most iconic volcano in Auckland. A prominent feature of the horizon from almost anywhere in the city, Rangitoto is even more impressive when you get up close. There are a few different walking tracks leading up to the summit – the quickest being around an hour – but whichever route you choose, you’re guaranteed to walk over historic lava fields and under incredible canopies, all the while surrounded by the sounds of the bush. And when you get to the top…well, just prepare to be struck by a whole lot of unabashed and relentless awe.

Return ferry from downtown Auckland is $29 for adults and $14.50 for kids.

Waiheke Island
If there is only one thing you do while visiting Auckland, let a visit to Waiheke be it. Home to almost 9,000 locals, Waiheke Island is actually New Zealand’s most densely populated island—which is pretty hard to believe seeing as how remote and idyllic it is. This tranquil paradise is quite literally surrounded by a breath-taking coastline, which means a whole lot of beautiful spots for you to swim. Waiheke Island is also famous for its plethora of expansive vineyards offering up everything from gourmet food to authentic local wine tasting. Whether you’re just visiting for the day or you’re lucky enough to spend a few nights, Waiheke is the gift that just keeps on giving.

Return ferry from downtown Auckland is $36 for adults and $18 for kids.

Tiritiri Matangi Island
Tiritiri Matangi is one of New Zealand’s most important and exciting conservation projects. Brought back to life after extensive farming throughout the 1980s, today this wildlife sanctuary is a thriving home for a long list of threatened and endangered species. From the flightless takahe through to the iconic tuatara, this protected land is a safe home for each and every animal and plant—and it’s open for you to explore, to learn from and to appreciate all year round.

Return ferry from downtown Auckland is $69 for adults and $37 for kids.

Hauraki Gulf

Top Tip If you’re after a bit of adventure, spend a few nights at Motutapu Island’s Department of Conversation run campground or in the simple lodging at Outdoor Education Camp. Motutapu Island is adjoined to Rangitoto and boasts a variety of beautiful walking trails, all with unparalleled views of the Gulf.